The reduction in operational hours and the number of staff manning banks has led to queues at some banks helping to receive the payment of duties and taxes at the Tema Port.
Thursday morning some freight forwarders, who said they preferred onsite banking to whatever electronic platform alternatives banks had provided, thronged the banks, especially Ecobank and GCB Bank, to wait in turn to make payments at the Long Room of the Tema Port.
The behaviour of the customers was a direct affront to the social distancing protocols announced by the government and health authorities as an effective means to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
The queue got so long that many of them became fed up and edgy, with some of them seen exchanging words with the security details at the two banks over who has the right to enter the bank when it opened at 9am. Previously, the banks opened their doors at 8:30 a.m.
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The situation prompted officials of the Tema Command of Customs to allocate a numbering system to allow five people at a time into the banking halls.
The agents, the Daily Graphic understand have also been asked to make payment for shipping charges for shipping lines at the banks.
The agents want the banks to open other branches and further increase the numbers of their personnel, as according to them, the situation was slowing down clearance processes.
According to a freight forwarder, Mr Samuel Okine, the present situation could bring about an increase in rent and demurrage charges.
"Since the lockdown some banks have closed. Some too have given limited staff who are working. Currently, there are staff who are sitting home and you have locked your branches and there is only one person in the bank who is doing the printing. There is a pandemic and we are supposed to observe social distancing but as it stands now, we are not being able to do that”, Mr Okine said.
“We are recommending that they bring more staff and if they cannot do that then they should open more branches as well so that we can do payment and ease the pressure", he added.The GCB for instance has shut down its Golden Jubilee branch where import duties are also received, leaving only the Long Room branch which had two tellers receiving and two other officers undertaking payment validation.The Ecobank […]